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How Keeping a Food Diary Can Help You Lose Weight

By Sarah Baker
Photos by Lara Medic

How Keeping a Food Diary Can Benefit You:

We all try to eat healthy, but how many of us truly succeed? And how do we know if we’re actually succeeding?? If you’re anything like me, some days I forget what I had for breakfast. I need someone or something to hold me accountable for what I put into my body. Hiring someone is way too expensive, so I looked in to other options. The cheapest and easiest way to eat healthy is keeping a food diary. I remember having to keep these in elementary or middle school health classes to see how healthy we were. I also remember fudging what I ate a little bit so that my teacher thought I was a lot healthier than I really was. 

As an adult, a food diary is more than a class assignment, it’s something to hold you accountable for what you put in to your body. Unlike in school, it’s something that needs to be completely 100% truthful or it won’t do you any good. Even if we think that we are eating healthy, how do you really know unless you look back at it? 

Make Notes of Everything:

When keeping a food diary, make sure to write down more than just what you ate for each meal. In order to achieve the maximum benefit and not cheat yourself, you need to write down a little more. This allows you to figure out what scenarios are making you eat unhealthy. These things include:

1. What you are eating.

2. What you are drinking.

3. The number of servings.

4. The calories of each item.

5. The portion size.

6. The time of day.

7. Where you were.

8. Who you were with.

9. Your emotional state. 

Why Keep One?

Keeping a food diary has many benefits besides just seeing what you’re eating. Take a look at all the benefits you can achieve by knowing what you are eating and more importantly, why. 

It aids in weight loss. This is because you can actually see if you are eating healthy foods, and what and where you need to cut.

It allows for better nutrition and balanced meals. You can see what food groups and nutrients that you are neglecting as well as the ones that you are getting maybe a little too much from. 

It allows you to connect you’re eating habits with feelings and look at what may be causing any intolerances. Because you are writing down more than just what you eat but when and how you were feeling when you ate it, you are able to see what emotions are causing you to eat which item. As well, you can see what food makes you bloated, nauseous, and cause digestive discomfort.

It allows for better success at attaining goals. This goes along with accountability. Since you can see everything you are eating, you can cut out calories when you see they are getting too high. As well, you will probably reconsider some of the things you are eating and substitute them with
healthy food options. 

It is a great addiction buster. Again, since you are writing down more than just what you are eating, you can see what made you crave that sugar, chocolate, or whatever addiction you are fighting and work towards not being weak towards it. 

Healthy Foods = Happy You

There are a lot of apps that can help you to keep an accurate food diary. It’s important that we are truthful and that we always carry it with us so we don’t forget to write things down, and let’s face it, we almost always have our phones with us. It's important to see what you put in your body, and more importantly, if the food your eating is actually healthy foods. You can even set a reminder on your phone to fill it out. If you are serious about losing weight or becoming healthier, a food diary is a great, free way to hold yourself accountable and really achieve your goals. It can be hard to get in the habit of, but once you start it, you’ll be addicted, trust me. I challenge you, keep a food diary for a week and see what you are really eating, you’ll be surprised. Make a few small adjustments at a time to increase healthy foods into your eating habits and try another week. Keep doing it until you find the healthy eating habits you were missing and you’ll love the way you feel!

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